Date: Tuesday, June 21st, 2016, 10:40
Category: Accessory, Hardware, News, Software
While Apple still has yet to publicly acknowledge its car project, a number of former Apple employees have formed a startup called Pearl, which was co-founded by three former Apple engineers. The crew, which helped design several generations of iPods and iPhones in years past, has hired approximately 70 employees and begun working on a rearview camera that’s being unveiled today.
The camera, known as RearVision, functions as a set of rearview cameras that fit around your license plate and sync with your smartphone. The differentiator is the attention to quality and detail that Apple is known for.
The RearVision unibody frame is made of painted die cast aluminum alloy, a material the team chose for its durability and all-weather-resistance. Along the top it has two cameras that provide a 180-degree field of view. The brains of the device are in a unit that plugs into your car’s on-board diagnostic, or OBD port, which is standard on all cars built after 1996. The cameras communicate wirelessly with the hub and your smartphone. For power, the cameras rely on a solar panel built right into the frame.
Representatives have said that a day’s worth of solar charging can supply a week of charge and that the unit can store a month’s worth of energy in its battery.
The cameras activate when you’re backing up and shut off if you start traveling forward at more than 10 miles an hour. It gets all the data on motion from the OBD port. You get a live stream of the rear view on your mobile device and can shift between portrait view, with two levels of zoom, and a landscape view. If necessary, the Rearview will sound two different kinds of alerts: one to let you know a vehicle or person is passing behind you, telling you to slow down, and another indicating a stop to avoid a collision. The app allows you to choose your favorite road apps — Google Maps, Spotify, etc. — and designate them for the home screen, which pops up when you shift from reverse to drive.
Pearl’s RearVision retails for $500, complete with Pearl promising regular software updates through the app and that it will begin collecting anonymized data that it will use to make the camera smarter over time, perhaps by adding things like parking lines.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has actually mandated that all new cars have rearview cameras by 2018, motivated by the high volume of tragic accidents that they could prevent.
The RearVision is available for preorder from Pearl today, and the company says its experience with the supply chain while working at Apple will help it avoid any of the manufacturing pitfalls that have become common among small hardware startups. The company has received $50 million in startup funding, which should allow for some interesting things down the road.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.
Via The Verge